Wizz Air operates 100 flights a week from Budapest, less than a fifth of Malev; Dortmund replaces Weeze
Despite being headquartered in Budapest, Wizz Air’s first operational base in May 2004 was at Katowice Airport in Poland. Budapest operations began the following month. During that first summer, 11 destinations were launched from the airport, of which just six are still operated today. In the following years, Wizz Air has, at one time or other, served over 40 destinations from the Hungarian capital, but never more than 23 in any one season. Last week saw the launch of services to Dortmund in Germany (competing directly with easyJet), although at the same time, twice-weekly flights to Weeze (also in Germany) were terminated. Prior to Weeze, the last route to be dropped by Wizz Air from Budapest was Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, which was launched in December 2010 but was suspended last June.
Four aircraft delivering 23 destinations this summer
This summer, Wizz Air will have four A320s based at Budapest, operating non-stop to 23 destinations across Europe, although only four of these destinations receive daily flights (Brussels Charleroi, Eindhoven, London Luton and Milan Bergamo). The average weekly frequency across all routes is just over four flights per week.
|21||London Luton (LTN)|
|8||Brussels Charleroi (CRL)|
|7||Milan Bergamo (BGY)|
|6||Malmo (MMX), Rome Fiumicino (FCO)|
|4||Barcelona (BCN), Madrid (MAD)|
|3||Bari (BRI), Bourgas (BOJ), Dortmund (DTM), Stockholm Skavsta (NYO), Tirgu Mures (TGM)|
|2||Catania (CTA), Forli (FRL), Frankfurt Hahn (HHN), Gothenburg City (GSE), Naples (NAP), Pisa (PSA), Turku (TKU)|
|1||Antalya (AYT), Corfu (CFU), Palma de Mallorca (PMI)|
|Source: OAG Max Online and Wizz Air|
The most recent additions to the network (apart from Dortmund) have been Antalya (18 June 2011), Catania (27 March 2011), Istanbul (17 December 2010), Bari (26 July 2010), Pisa (1 July 2010), Forli (30 March 2010) and Turku (14 February 2010).
Other destinations that have been tried and have failed to deliver acceptable results include Amsterdam, Athens, Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Girona, Katowice, Liverpool, Oslo Torp, Paris Beauvais, Prague, Sofia, Split, Varna, Venice Treviso and Warsaw. A high proportion of these unsuccessful routes are to other destinations in Central Europe, clearly demonstrating the difficulty of making low-cost routes within Central Europe work, something that SkyEurope also discovered several years ago.
Malev provides significant competition, directly and indirectly
Troubled local flag-carrier Malev provides direct competition on routes to Antalya, Barcelona, Bourgas, Corfu, Madrid, Palma, Rome, and Tirgu Mures, while also providing indirect competition on routes to Brussels, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, London, Milan and Stockholm. On London Luton services, easyJet competes head-to-head (as well as serving London Gatwick), while British Airways operates flights to London Heathrow. Alitalia, Lufthansa and Norwegian also provide indirect competition on routes to Rome, Frankfurt and Stockholm respectively.
According to OAG data for July 2012, Malev still accounts for around 45% of scheduled seat capacity at Budapest airport, operates over 500 departures per week, and serves over 50 destinations with non-stop services. Wizz Air is second with around 13% of seat capacity and around 100 weekly departures. If troubled Malev were to cease operations, Wizz Air would find it difficult to take up much of the slack without re-allocating aircraft from elsewhere in its network.